“So many people say they wish they could be young again. You couldn’t drag me back to twenty-one.”
When I first heard Anna Kendrick was publishing a collection of autobiographical essays, I can’t pretend I didn’t think she must be far too young to write a memoir. But then I remembered how relatable and funny her tweets are, and I decided to buy a copy. Reading Scrappy Little Nobody, I realised I was wrong to question whether she was “old enough” to write this book.
It was so refreshing to read an autobiographical book by someone yount enough that they can actually remember what it’s like to be 21. This book was not only entertaining, as I expected, but it was also incredibly relatable, smart, and filled with Anna’s personality.
“I like to tell people I’m a square. It’s a charming way to warn them that I’m a finicky little brat without freaking them out.“
Almost every page was sprinkled with Kendrick’s snarky, sharp-witted humour, so I never felt bored reading about her life. Several of the sections really struck me as true to my own experiences, and I’ve bookmarked a number of pages for re-reading. For me, this is the sign of a great book.
I particularly loved the chapters about taking the bold step of moving to LA alone, and the loneliness/uncertainty/unemployment that followed. Even though I’ll probably never be able to compare to the amount of rejection and uncertainty involved in pursuing a career as an actress, this section made me feel a lot better about my own experiences with these feelings. I also adored the chapters about boys. They were relatable, sometimes shockingly candid, and funny. ‘He’s just not interesting‘ is a stand-out relatable section, and an important life lesson.
“Looking back, it’s hard for me to understand what I was doing. Why on earth would I pursue someone who so clearly had no interest in me? It’s not like we had fun together; the man didn’t like me as much as tolerate me.”
The final section was another favourite. Kendrick talks about the process of growing up and looking back on her teenage years. She used the phrase “you couldn’t drag me back to twenty-one” as she recalls late nights, parties, romance and friendship dramas. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who can’t think of anything worse than ageing in reverse.
This book benefits hugely from Kendrick’s honesty. Reading this felt listening to a self-deprecating friend. She tells ordinary stories that a lot of young people can probably relate to, in a funny and charming way. And there were surprises too: there were plenty of things I didn’t know, some of which I never would have expected. Overall, this was a humorous, relatable, and surprisngly inspring read. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t have your life together, read this. If you’ve ever felt awkward, or dorky, or square, read this. If you’ve ever chased after a guy who in retrospect was so clearly not worth it, read this. If you’ve ever related to one of Anna Kendrick’s tweets, just read it already.
“And yet, I always think, This is my year. This year I’m going to get my s*** SO together that I’ll always be able to see the solution to my problems… it’s like this Tyler Durden-style feeling that I’m so close. I’m so close to being a real person.”